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News by Area

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Conservation grants on offer

The Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust is offering grants for a range of conservation projects in the Ingleborough area.

The grants are part of Stories in Stone, a four-year programme of community and heritage projects developed by the Ingleborough Dales Landscape Partnership, which the trust leads.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Landowners' group calls for new policy for thriving woodland

The regional director of an influential landowner organisation says Brexit must be used to create a better policy for creating and managing woodland.

New data showing a sharp decline in the planting of new productive British woodland highlights why the UK must grasp the opportunity, according to Dorothy Fairburn of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA).

The association which represents thousands of farmers, landowners and other rural businesses throughout the North has responded to a report on changes in canopy cover between 2006 and 2015 published by the Forestry Commission. The report says the government’s strategy for increasing woodland cover in England is failing.

Get exploring and help conservation, park urges families

Having fun ... club members
and volunteers get exploring.
Families with children aged 4 – 14 are being offered a way to learn about the habitats of the North York Moors national park.

The park's Explorer Club starts at the beginning of next month, meeting one Saturday or Sunday a month for six months.

The park holds an information day from 2pm – 4pm this Sunday (28 August) at its Danby centre. Members will be on hand to talk about their experiences and what they gain from volunteering and being part of the group. There will also be the opportunity to take part in fun activities such as stile building and creating natural works of art so attendees can experience what being part of the project will entail.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Conservation grants give national park's landscape a competitive hedge

The North York Moors national park is offering land manager grants of up to £2,000 for hedgerow planting and drystone walling.

The Traditional Boundary Scheme, now in its fourth year, has grant-aided nearly 10,000 square metres of drystone walls and planted over 8km of hedges in the area.

The national park authority says traditional boundaries form an important part of the landscape and it wants to help landowners improve, protect and restore these features, including coppicing and gapping up.

As well as serving as stock-proof boundaries, drystone walls and hedges provide shelter for stock, reduce soil erosion and increase habitat connectivity.

The authority's conservation projects assistant Roy McGhie said: “It has been fantastic to see the difference the traditional boundary scheme grant can make to the landscape of the national park.

"As well as being important historical features, field boundaries are of considerable wildlife value and also add to the aesthetic appeal of the park. This grant is an important contribution to the way the authority recognises the significance of traditional boundaries to farming, wildlife, and the park in general.”

The initiative grant-aids traditional field boundaries in the park providing they do not already receive funding from other sources. Priority is given to those boundaries which are most visible from a public right of way or of particular historical or environmental interest.

Further information:

Friday, 19 August 2016

Popular visitor route protected from sea

A £9m coastal defence scheme to protect the A174 route that's popular with visitors between Whitby and Sandsend officially opens today (Friday, 19 August).

More robust defences now protect the route.
Robert Goodwill, MP for Scarborough and Whitby, will perform the ceremony, which will be attended by local councillors and representatives of the Environment Agency and contractor Balfour Beatty.

Worn-out coastal defences have been replaced along a 1km stretch of the road where it runs close to the shoreline.

The work, costing more than £9m, has been funded by the county council and Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. It entailed replacement of the old concrete defences and stabilisation and redesign of the upper slope above the road.
The road has a history of landslips requiring costly repairs over the years. It sits at the top of the coastal defences built in conjunction with the former railway and has a boulder clay coastal slope above it. Over recent winters, the authority increasingly had to carry out urgent repair work to collapses in the concrete defences as well as to slips above the road, requiring closure of the road and traffic management.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, executive member for highways, said: “This is a major tourist route, so completion of the project is good news for both the local and business community. I am also pleased to say that the scheme has been delivered on budget."

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

National park tackles invasive plants

Himalayan Balsam. Photo by Nan Sykes.
The North York Moors national park is tackling non-native plant species on the Esk, Seph and Rye river catchments throughout September.

The Yorkshire Water-funded programme will tackle Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam which pose a threat to native plants and animals.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

One trust went to sow, went to sow a meadow and ten years on ...

Conservation and environmental charity Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust is celebrating ten years since it launched an ambitious scheme to save the declining species-rich hay meadows in the area. And 600 hectares later, the trust team is still making meadows.
A big thumbs up ... Tanya St Pierre and Chris Myers celebrate
ten years of restoring vital meadows, near Askrigg..
 Over the past fifty years, 97 per cent of meadows in the UK have been lost through agricultural intensification, making them one of our most threatened habitats. Only a thousand hectares (less than four square miles) survived, putting hundreds of species of wildflowers and plants, bees, birds and other native wildlife species at risk.

The Hay Time project was set up ten years ago to change that with the trust working alongside farmers and partners Natural England, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to restore more than two square miles of degraded meadows. Trust officials say the work has brought precious habitat back from the brink.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Conservation cash boost for minster

Benefiting from a major cash injection
 for conservation work ... York Minster.
Vital conservation and repair work will get under way for York Minster after a government sponsored body announced £500,000 of new funding.

The grant is a part of a £14.5 million funding package from the First World War Centenary Repairs Fund.  Forty cathedrals across England will receive grants from £25,000 to more than £800,000 for essential repairs including roofing, stained-glass and stonework.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Nature reserve draws in the volunteers after council cash boost

Nosterfield Nature Reserve, near Bedale, is developing a strong volunteer base, thanks to a council grant.
Volunteers planting reeds in shallow water at the Nosterfield nature reserve.
Hambleton's only designated reserve draws up to 15,000 visitors each year who enjoy the wildlife and take exercise in the attractive landscape adjoining the Thornborough Henges. It's also recognised as North Yorkshire’s premier wet grassland for birds and has received a number of major national awards.

The £2,500 district council grant has enabled Northallerton and District Voluntary Service Association to help the Lower Ure Conservation Trust to strengthen its volunteers programme on the reserve through a series of open days and workshops.

The reserve can now draw on 35 volunteers who carry out a range of tasks including recording the birds, flowers and insects, clearing unwanted vegetation and creating new habitats such as reedbeds and hedgerows.

Director and trustee Simon Warwick said: “We expect the improved volunteer-base to result in increased visitor numbers and many more people being aware of Hambletons only local nature reserve, its wildlife, surrounding landscape and local communities,”

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Dales conservation work branches out with new woodland

More than 20,000 native trees have been planted to create a new woodland called Ormsgill Wood in the heart of the Dales.

On the hillside above Airton, and boasting long-distance views over Malhamdale, it comprises a series of gill woodlands that provide important habitat for wildlife including black grouse.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Water great way to celebrate our rivers

River Est project officer Simon Hirst
leads a guided walk in the national park.
The North York Moors National Park celebrates everything that's great about our waterways with a rivers festival on Sunday 28 August.

Visitors can learn about wildlife, go on a river walk, watch fishing demonstrations, have a go at fly casting , led by professional fisherman Olly Shepherd from Fly Fishing Yorkshire, and get up-close with river bugs.

The event, taking place at The Moors National Park Centre in Danby is being organised with the Yorkshire Est Rivers Trust and is part of the Discovering the Esk project, which has received a funding boost from the Postcode Local Trust.

Organisers say the project increases opportunities for people of all ages in the Esk Valley and wider area to get involved in environmentally focused activities and community monitoring schemes such as Riverfly Monitoring, Adopt a Stream, Young Angler Initiative and Salmon in the Classroom. The festival will help to advance local people’s knowledge, and provide them with the opportunity and support to learn about and care for their local river.

Further information:

Friday, 15 July 2016

Plan goes under microscope

Public hearings next week will examine new guidelines that will affect planning decisions in the Yorkshire Dales National Park for the next 15 years.

A planning inspector will scrutinise the park's local plan – a strategy for sustainable development – over three days starting on Tuesday (19 July).

The hearings will be held at the national park's offices in Bainbridge and will be chaired by independent planning inspector Simon Berkeley.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Pollinator conservation workers are set to get buzzee, thanks to grant

Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Otley Wetland Nature Reserve are set for improved pollinator pathway habitat work, thanks to a £42,000 Biffa Award.

Assessing species along the pollinator pathway.
The pathway will link fragments of habitat together along a 10km corridor, supporting Harrogate district's biodiversity action plan.

Species-rich lowland meadow was once a common habitat across the area but changes in farming practice have led to a severe decline in habitat.  Mapping grassland sites or restored sites allows conservationists to identify gaps in the network. These links in the chain of grasslands will be strengthened to give invertebrates and other wildlife an opportunity to move around the countryside.

The two-year project will restore more than forty hectares of lowland meadow at carefully selected locations using seed and hay collected from local donor sites wherever possible.

Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty biodiversity project officer Kelly Harmar said, “Pollinators generally only travel short distances and the Biffa Award funding will allow us to create new pollinator habitat close to existing flower rich hay meadows.  It will also enable us to improve the quality of the surviving meadows and to build up a comprehensive seed bank for future grassland restoration”.

The Biffa Award initiative is a multi million pound environment fund managed by Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts which uses landfill tax credits donated by Biffa Waste Services.

Further information:

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Hopes high that conservation project will be a barn storming success

Dilapidated barns in Upper Swaledale are being given a new lease of life during an 18-month project.

Around 600 of them and a number within Muker Parish have already been identified as potential candidates for some TLC.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s project will see local builders using traditional materials, techniques and craft skills to conserve the barns for future generations

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Young squaddies branch out with tree planting project

Junior soldiers have been helping to make the countryside around Malham even more attractive.

Members of 16 Platoon, Peninsula Company from the Army Foundation College in Harrogate joined staff and volunteers from the Yorkshire Dales National Park to plant 500 trees for a new native woodland on the outskirts of the village. In the afternoon they were joined by staff from Malham Youth Hostel for a giant litter pick around the village.

The young soldiers – aged between 16 and 18 – are seven months into their training and are doing working towards their Duke of Edinburgh Awards. Their work in Malham was part of their voluntary service.

Geoff Garrett, the authority’s senior trees and woodlands Officer, said: “Our trees and woodlands are currently under many threats and planting new areas like this one helps to build on the landscape as well as creating a habitat for woodland plants and animals.

“At the moment many grants are available for planting trees to create woodlands and next year we will be looking for a similar site for the soldiers to help us with.”

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Conservation team move celebrated

Newly-appointed North Yorkshire county council chairman councillor Val Arnold (second from right), was on hand to formally celebrate the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty team's move to the offices of the North York Moors National Park Authority in Helmsley. The two organisations have a shared boundary in the Ampleforth and Coxwold area, and have worked on a variety of joint conservation projects already. The team uses volunteers to help with countryside management tasks, alongside the Moorswork social enterprise group based at Dalby Forest. A new project is also being developed to use the national park modern apprentices to carry out public rights of way improvement works in the area.

Give nature a home, charity urges

Latest figures show that only 33 per cent of people see hedgehogs in their gardens in North Yorkshire at least once a month, 14 per cent fewer than in 2014

Foxes were the third most popular visitor with 16 per cent of people in North Yorkshire catching one in their garden at least once a month, according to this RSPB study. Stoats are an elusive species with six per cent spotting one on a monthly basis.

Grey squirrels remained the most common garden visitor in the county for the third year running, with 67 per cent of participants spotting one scurrying across their garden at least once a month.The RSPB is calling on people to get involved in Giving Nature a Home this summer by doing at least one thing for wildlife in their garden or outdoor space

Friday, 17 June 2016

Tree sparrow conservation project in for a tweet, thanks to lottery grant

A project to support the recovery of tree sparrows across the Dales has secured a £9,500 heritage lottery grant.

The Yorkshire Dales national park initiative will record the presence of the bird across the area, identifying locations and helping safeguard and increase its population.

Recording will include monitoring existing nest boxes and providing a further 90 across the national park.

Training will involve showing people the right types of bird feeders and nest boxes, and how to identify good habitats for tree sparrows.

The national park authority will produce a booklet and organise a touring exhibition to help raise awareness and support among local communities.

Wildlife conservation officer Mark Hewitt said: “Discovering more about the delightful tree sparrow in the Yorkshire Dales will help us to provide better, more diverse habitats for a range of important, special birds. Local communities can play a real and genuine part in the conservation of a national priority species.”

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

National park grants up for grabs

The North York Moors National Park Authority is looking for projects to fund that will increase awareness of the area or will benefit local communities. Two types of grant up are for grabs.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Contest goes to the wall and there's limited time to enter

Yorkshire wallers have until 30 June to enter this year's Dry Stone Wall competition.

Country Land and Business Association regional director Dorothy Fairburn said: “There are still a few places remaining in the competition. I would urge any dry stone wallers, who have been involved in a local project in the last two years, to enter now before it’s too late.”

Aimed at preserving the county’s ancient craft of dry stone walling, the competition, which is stagbed every two years, recognises the people behind the miles of distinctive walls that define Yorkshire’s famous landscapes.

The event is held in association with the Yorkshire Dry Stone Walling Guild and is believed to be unique in Britain as it judges new or rebuilt walls in the countryside.

Marks are awarded for use of local style, impact on the landscape, tidiness and difficulty of terrain.

The winner receives an engraved glass walling stone. The competition is open to all wallers who live and work in Yorkshire and is free to enter. Entry forms are available by emailing: or telephoning: 01748 907070.